Team Sports, Not Your Normal Gym Class


Brayden Schiff and Chris Minnec

Team Sports physical education at Glenbard West High School is not your normal gym class. The students in a Team Sports class are more competitive and have a stronger desire to be there.

Team Sports is a class available to juniors and seniors, it offers a variety of sports in which the students compete for championships.

A normal gym class at Glenbard West consists of running the track, weight lifting, walking outside, or occasionally playing a sport. These classes are co-ed and some students have reported in the past that they have felt awkward breaking a sweat in front of the opposite gender.

Billy Petersen, current Team Sports athlete and senior, states, “As a freshman and sophomore I was forced to take a normal gym class that consisted of students who gave a half effort in the activities.”

Team Sports teacher, Pete Mastandrea, is referred to by the students as the Commissioner. He has helped shape young men through his class since he started his career in 1975. He runs his leagues through an old-fashioned style of no co-ed classes, he coordinates captains to pick teams for each sport. Even the athletes who are low draft picks are expected to give 100% in every game they participate in, the students hold each other to this high standard of giving a full effort, regardless of their skill level.

According to Mr. Mastandrea, “Our philosophy is, any job worth doing is worth overdoing. Team Sports can prepare the kids for adversity in their lives.” Mr. Mastandrea stresses to the athletes the importance of giving 100% in everything they do. Lessons including sports knowledge, advice for a strong future, and living well are taught to the young men in the class. Working as a team and battling through adversity when something doesn’t go their way are two of his most commonly taught lessons.

The students enjoy the class and really get into the competitiveness. Joe DeGrace, senior and currently enrolled in Team Sports, states, “The thing that makes Team Sports so special is that you get to compete with your classmates every day.” Joe looks forward to taking part in a high-level sport both with and against some of his best friends on a daily basis.

Some students take the class so seriously they prioritize it above some of their academic classes. Glenbard West Counselor, Tad Keely, has witnessed first hand the students’ love for the class. “I get kids all the time that I send passes for during Team Sports and they don’t show up.  The kids love the class and don’t want to miss a day.”

Petersen, guilty of attending a Team Sports class over a counselor meeting says, “What makes Team Sports special is it is full of athletes who are willing to sacrifice their academics for the integrity of the league, and give their best every class.”

With such a high demand from the students for the class, there are multiple Team Sports classes throughout the day. With so many kids signed up for the class, there is a wide variety of students in each class. This allows new friendships to be made and a special bond to be formed through Team Sports. Mr. Mastandrea says, “The kids work together, they push each other.”

Kenney Toliver, former Team Sports athlete and current freshman at Mizzou, reminisces on his two year Team Sports career at GBW, “Team Sports taught me to never give up on my goals. There were many instances in my career where a fourth-seed team beat a one-seed team in the playoffs. This just proved to me that through hard work and never giving up, one can accomplish anything.” Kenney was passionate about the class, and like all Team Sports athletes, gave his best effort in every sport he competed in.